REX: 2 New planes in August
REX – especially its Deputy Chairman The Hon. John Sharp AM has been very vocal of late, on everything from Qantas dominance to their refunds policy. The overall impression created is that REX is not doing well despite an overall trend showing vast improvement in passenger numbers versus the same time in 2020.
To give you an example, total domestic airline passengers carried (across all airlines) April 2020 v April 2021, has seen 2,600 % increase (from 17,100 to 2,609,400 passengers) according to Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication figures. Remember that April 2020 was right after the beginning of Australia’s pandemic outbreak in March.
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More Boeing 737-800s
Their proposed plane leasing tells another story. REX has just signed a Letter of Intent to lease 2 Boeing 737-800NGs from late August, bringing their 737 fleet to 8. The aircraft are schuduled to start flying in September. That means the airline has gone from zero to 8 x 737s in the roughly 6 months since November 2020. Not bad by any measure.
‘Rex currently operates 737 services from Melbourne to Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, and Canberra and from Sydney to Gold Coast.’Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM
Ever one for a bit of biffo with competitors, The Hon J. Sharp goes on to say:
‘Consequently, Australians now do not have to choose between full service at inflated prices and poor and unreliable services at lower prices’.Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM
In case that’s not clear, he is referring to Qantas and Virgin Australia – in that order.
REX hopes to add another two 737’s before the end of 2021 and is inviting expressions of interest from potential lessors. The airline intends to deploy these aircraft on new domestic and major regional routes as customer demand improves.
Flying through lockdown
Rex issued another release to assure passengers that they were still flying during the NSW lockdown, although frequencies will be cut.
The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.
It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.
This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.
REX projects quite an aggressive, defensive position in their public statements – especially from their Deputy Chairman. This is in stark contrast to their brand claim of ‘trademark country hospitality’.
I was scheduled to travel on their first day of flying between Sydney and Melbourne back in March 2021, but another outbreak in Melbourne put paid to that, given my end destination was Adelaide. I am sitting on a credit for that flight. I hope to share the experience of travelling on REX with you soon – after the current spate of lockdowns is over.
Also, you should know that I hold equities in REX, as I do with most Australian based airlines. You can find disclosure of my share, loyalty and affinity marketing interests in this website’s T&Cs.
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